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China on Thursday defended its treatment of Tibetan monks it says are undergoing re-education, responding to a U.N. inquiry about what exiled Tibetans have called the forced disappearance of hundreds of monks.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the monks had not been detained illegally, and urged U.N. human rights investigators to act without prejudice. "It is legal to supervise religious affairs, and protect normal religious order. This issue of forced disappearance fundamentally does not exist," Hong told reporters at a regular press briefing.
U.N. human rights investigators called on China to reveal the "fate and whereabouts" of more than 300 monks who disappeared after being rounded up by security forces at a monastery in Aba prefecture of the southwestern province of Sichuan in April.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
In a country facing the triple challenges of economic crisis, political instability and Islamist militancy, the impact on individuals can be easy to overlook. Amnesty International has tried to redress part of this by publishing a report about the hundreds of people it says have disappeared in Pakistan as a result of counter-terrorism measures.
It urges the coalition government elected in February to act immediately to resolve all cases of enforced disappearance. "We don't know if those subjected to enforced disappearances are guilty or innocent, but it is their fundamental right to be charged and tried properly in a court of law," says Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International's Asia Pacific director.